FOOD TRAVELS: BOMBAY

Bombay is a city that gives me more reasons to fall in love with it (if that is even possible!) every time I visit. Growing up I was very fussy about food (my husband will say I still am😊) – in the beginning it was all about potatoes, and then chicken was ‘approved’ to go on my plate… let me put it simply, it’s been a long process to get me to try everything and anything!

In the late 1980s, the social scene pretty much revolved around five star hotels – be it for a good meal, a clubbing night out or even your late night coffee fix.  Today, that has all changed! When I visit Bombay, I don’t need to step into a five star hotel at all – there is need to do so – the places to dine at are dime a dozen and each one attempts to offer something different, in a unique setting with friendly service and a tremendous focus on good tasting food. So on my recent visit to Bombay, my agenda was simple – family, friends and food 😊

By now my girl squads in Bombay know that I must visit places I haven’t eaten at before and many of them obligingly return to restaurants with me.  So, before I even land in Bombay, I pretty much know where I am going to be eating over the next seven days (yes, my trips to Bombay are generally only a week long – I know my parents would love for that to change to more). Dinner is generally always at home when I am in Bombay, lunch time is when I go on my food trails.

FAMILY TIME

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A meal with my maternal side of the family (the older generation) was long overdue, and I rectified it on this trip. The question was where – they are not big eaters but I know they like Italian food. So after much consultation, I chose a place – just because I liked the name – Henpecked. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, with rainfall for company and when the otherwise bustling bylanes of Kala Ghoda were sleepy, the family stepped out.

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Our drinks to kick us off included

Citizen Cane – Sugarcane, ginger, lime and coconut water and Wild & Free – Coconut water, lemon, honey, sea salt, citrus and watermelon

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We also ordered a portion of garlic bread with cheese.

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Pasta-time

Ala Clemenza – HP Special sauce, chicken meatballs, basil, parmesan and EVOO (read that for the first time – it stands for Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

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A customised shrimp spaghetti option

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Pizza-time

The Dominant Vegetarian – 3 peppers, caramelized onions, zucchini and sundried tomatoes

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Bangers – Tomatoes, Chicken sausage, mustard greens, thyme and buffalo mozzarella

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Dessert-time

Hazelnut Crème Brûlée (nutella infused)

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Chocolate Mud Pie (cookie crumble and salted caramel)

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Philadelphia Baked Cheese Cake (Blueberry compote)

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1 Sentence Review: So glad I read about it, and decided to try it! 

Location: Henpecked, 105, Apollo Street, Opposite Laxmi Vilas Bank, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai.Tel: +91 22  30151666 Open from 11am – 1 AM

SCHOOL FRIENDS TIME

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Every time I revisit Bombay, it’s always nice to reconnect, catch up with school friends – those who have known you since you were in ‘bloomers’. It’s amazing how quickly the unconnected-years seem to fade, only to reveal strong bonds that have always been there – unknowingly. Our destination for our mini reunion was a unanimous The Clearing House (History – Ballard Estate where the restaurant is located used to be the city’s shipping and clearing hub in the ‘good ol’ days’ and the very location the restaurant is in used to be old ice factory now converted to a 4,000-square foot restaurant).

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Let’s Begin

Arugula with Green Apple, Pecans and Cranberry

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Chilli Garlic Prawns with Fennel Basil Butter

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Hoisin Chilli Duck Leg Sliders

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Let’s Continue

Korean Barbecue Chicken and a Ravioli (can’t remember what though, and Zomato does not have the updated menu for me to reference)

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Asparagus and Pea RisottoIMG_7767

Let’s Conclude

Chocolate Pot de Crème

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Pannacotta

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1 Sentence Review: An absolute hidden gem which will soon become a veritable SoBo haunt.

Location: The Clearing House, 13-15, Calicut Street, Ballard Estate, Fort, Mumbai Tel: +91 22  30151793 Open from 11 noon – 3 PM and 7 PM – 1AM

BFF TIME

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Where do you go to when you want to have a chill out conversation with one of your closest friends, a venue where you feel you belong and where the music just transports you back to your ‘crazy-those-were-the-days’ nostalgia (years have sobered me up a teeny tiny bit). After a bit of misunderstanding of where we would meet, we finally caught up at British Brewing Company at Palladium. Although it does have some ‘British’ dishes on the menu – we went totally off tangent – Indian and Thai were our choices.

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Chicken Seekh Kebab

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Thai Chicken Green Curry

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Decided to skip dessert here and go and have some at a different place (more on that below)

I have to make a special mention here for the DJ – the tunes he played were had memories attached to them which made us so very nostalgic.

1 Sentence Review: Loved the vibe but next time might try the options on the ‘British’ menu

Location: British Brewing Company, Level 4, Palladium, High Street Phoenix, Lower Parel, Mumbai Tel: +91 22 65656121 Open from 12 noon – 12 midnight

SWEET INDULGENCE TIME

My friend and I were not willing to call it a night, so we decided to go in search of a place that would serve us dessert – and which would still be open in the middle of the night (and no, a five star hotel would have only been the very last resort). After quite a few disappointing ‘we are closed’ signs, we finally landed up at The Pantry at Kala Ghoda (yes, if you know South Bombay – you will realise we traversed the distance). And we left only when we were asked to leave (which was well past their closing time)

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53% Chocolate Ganache

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Gooseberry Baked Cheesecake

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1 Sentence Review: A lovely cozy little space to have a wonderful conversation and many many laughs.

Location: The Pantry, Yeshwant Chambers, Military Square Lane, Near Trishna, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai Tel: +91 22 22700082/ 22678901 Open from 8:30 AM to 11:30 PM

FOREVER FRIEND TIME

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If you are lucky, you get to meet some wonderful people while at college who refuse (luckily for me) to be anything but an integral part of your life – unconditionally. They form part of your life’s journey even though they are not on speed dial – they are the friends who you pick up where you left off, who will ensure you are one of the first to know any major news and who encourage you as you venture on new paths (in my case this food blog). I love Asian food and Shizusan Shophouse and Bar at High Street did not disappoint – what I loved about it is that besides the regular sushi/sashimi and the dim sums, this place has a lot more to offer. We wanted a light lunch so went with the starters/smalls.

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Chicken Satay

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Balinese Ikan Bakar

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Kimchi Spiced Mushrooms

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1 Sentence Review: Brilliant food which focuses fresh ingredients and on flavours

Location: Shizusan Shophouse & Bar, next to Lifestyle, Skyzone, Ground Floor, High Street Phoenix, 462, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai Tel: +91 22 33951709 Open from 12noon – 12 midnight. 

MOTHER-DAUGHTER TIME

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I can’t remember when my mom and I (just the two of us) went out for a meal together. She is perhaps the best company on one of my food trail destinations – she is patient, inquisitive and experimental – which ticks all my boxes. Bombay Brasserie was a restaurant we used to visit as a family many many years ago, when it was on the main road at Worli – serving the usual Mughlai fare. However, I heard it had recently up-ed its game – redone the interiors, the menu and location – and so a visit to the ‘new’ Bombay Brasserie just had to be made (it’s still in Worli – where 212 used to be – if that is any help). It was buzzing even mid-week – and it was a varied mix of people – from office goers to ladies having a leisurely lunch, and it got quite busy and quite loud as our meal progressed (not complaining, just emphasizing the popularity of the place)

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Kashmiri Naan Kebab – hand ground, mutton mince seekh infused with the flavours of ‘kebab chini’, served on a saffron-brushed naan along with ‘doon chetin’ – a Kashmiri based creamy yogurt dip.

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Andhra Chicken – hot and spicy South Indian-style fried chicken  tenders, made with freshly ground masalas

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Grandma’s Choco Treat – Inspired by your grandmother’s sugar paratha, this one is more like a roomali roti filled with chocolate and hazelnut spread, drizzled with a secret sauce (more chocolate!)

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1 Sentence Review: It is definitely a delightful place to dine at especially if you are looking for something Indian, minus the heaviness.  

Location: Bombay Brasserie Villa 12-A, Lotus Cinema Building, Opposite Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai Tel: +91 22 2493 3321 Open from 12 PM – 12 midnight

NEXT-GEN TIME

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I have learned that the best way to stay clued in to what is ‘happening’ at the moment and stay ‘current’ is to befriend a millennial – and they come in the form of my friend’s kids. So very often I meet them over coffee, which ends up with them grabbing a bite as well (I have realised youngsters can eat any time of the day) – where conversation never dries up and you realise that there was a time when you sat exactly in their place with your aunt wanting to know how life was when they were ‘younger’. Life has come a full circle. So Light House Café at Worli was our tête-à-tête destination (considering it was close to where I had just had lunch).

Café Latte

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1 Sentence Review: Seemed like a cool place, but it would be unfair to review based on only one latte.

Location: Light House Café, 9 Ground Floor, Sunville Banquets, Dr Annie Besant Road, Siddharth Nagar, Worli, Mumbai Open from 7.30 AM – 1.30 AM

Namaste Bombay.. until the next time!

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